A's Duchscherer solid, but leaves game with injury in win over Tribe

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Oakland right-hander Justin Duchscherer couldn't even enjoy his first start in nearly five years. A strained biceps in his pitching arm made sure of that.

Duchscherer allowed one run in five innings to help Oakland to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, but the celebration of his return to the A's rotation was tempered by how he left the game.

A reliever the past four years before an offseason trade sent staff ace Dan Haren to Arizona and opened a spot in the A's staff, Duchscherer tied his career high with six strikeouts. He also walked two before leaving in the sixth after giving up back-to-back singles to Kelly Shoppach and Grady Sizemore and falling behind in the count to Asdrubal Cabrera.

"I don't know how bad it is," Duchscherer said. "I've never had it before. Hopefully I'll come in tomorrow and won't feel too bad. It's extremely frustrating."

Duchscherer, who had season-ending surgery on his right hip last July, retired the first 11 batters he faced. He threw only 72 pitches before being taken out of the game following a meeting on the mound with Oakland head trainer Steve Sayles.

"It's one of those freak things that seem to happen to me quite frequently," Duchscherer said. "I felt good for the first four innings and I felt like I was cruising. This is the last thing I wanted to happen. All I was thinking about on the mound was, 'Please don't be hurt.' "

Duchscherer initially felt a cramp in his right arm in the fifth but shrugged it off following a brief meeting at the mound with Sayles, manager Bob Geren and catcher Kurt Suzuki. He tried loosening up by throwing in the A's indoor batting cage between innings, but felt a pull in his arm when he came out for the sixth.

While there was initial concern that Duchscherer (1-0) might have aggravated his hip, the A's later announced that he was suffering from "slight biceps tendinitis."

"We'll know more in the next day or two how he feels," said Geren, adding that Duchscherer is day-to-day. "He felt like he had a little bit of a cramp and then it went away. I guess it got to the point where he felt it was pretty sore."

It was only the sixth start of Duchscherer's career and his first since Sept. 20, 2003.

Cleveland starter Paul Byrd also had his problems, but they weren't physical.

The Indians' right-hander struggled with his command in the first two innings, walking the second batter he faced and hitting two more in the second. Suzuki, one of the two A's batters hit by Byrd, later scored on a passed ball.

"My control was horrible," said Byrd, who only threw 49 of his 82 pitches for strikes. "The ball was up all night. I got away with a lot of stuff earlier. I just didn't figure out how to get the ball down. You can only throw so many bad pitches before it comes back to haunt you."

The A's, scoreless in their previous 16 innings before Friday, chased Byrd in the fifth when they batted around to make it 5-0. Suzuki and Ryan Sweeney, who went 4-for-4, both had RBI singles for Oakland.

Byrd (0-1) gave up five runs and eight hits while taking the loss.

"We weren't able to make the plays and we made some mistakes, too," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "[Duchscherer] kept us off balance. We never really got anything going against him."

Garko and Travis Hafner both homered for the Indians.

Game notes
Oakland RHP Chad Gaudin, who had foot and hip surgery in December, will make one more rehab start and is on target to start against the Indians in Cleveland on April 12. ... Garko's home run off Keith Foulke was the first run allowed by the Oakland reliever in 14 1-3 innings. ... Oakland leadoff hitter Travis Buck is 0-for-18 this season. ... Cleveland backup catcher Victor Martinez (hamstring) has missed the last three games but could return to the Indians lineup Saturday, Wedge said. ... Cleveland LHP C.C. Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, makes his second start of the season Saturday against Oakland's Dana Eveland.